Review: Deep house might not be getting the headlines it did a few years ago, but that actually means those who jumped on the hype train have all alighted once again and now only those truly devoted to the form remain. That means we get high quality EPs like this one from Visions Inc. Aleqs Notal takes us on a spiritual trip littered with toms and jazz-chords to kick things off before Meftah gets more experimental with a broken beat, tripped out keys and rubbery bass all sinking you into a state of trance. For those who like it more straight up, Taelue obliges, and as with all Afrikan Sciences tunes, the closer is a masterfully deep concoction.
Review: Summer might be on its way out, but Alma Negra is keeping the good time vibes alive with this brilliant jazzed up and cosmic EP of glowing house sounds. Each track is musically rich, with trumpet riffs up top and drawn out astral basslines down low on the likes of "Contra." "Dakar Disco" is brilliantly tropical and bright, while the Kuniyuki remix is a little more after dark in its vibe, with plunging bass taking you into a more heads down mood. "Back In Town" is an expressive, loose and free flowing percussive jam that bristles and brims with vitality.
Review: The MUSIC INSTITUTE was Detroit's answer to legendary house and garage clubs like Music Box in the Windy City and Paradise Garage in New York. Now it is a label putting out the sort of raw, direct music you would have heard in the club. This time out it is famous Chicago producer and vocalist Alton Miller who steps up under his Aphrodisiac alias with cuts made on an MPC and Yamaha keyboard in Studio B of KMS. They are jacking, of course, but with plenty of musicality in the chords and though now a few years old having beenfirsst put out on Transmat's sub-label Fragile, they still bang.
Review: Much loved and always impassioned vocalist and producer Norma Jean Bell is a firm favourite with greats like Moodymann, and for good reason. here she lands on Pandamonium with a new EP that utilises the voice of soul herself, Miss Aretha Franklin. "Got Me A Mann" is a gossip tinged, chord laced house track that will make you shuffle on the spot as you rejoice your sins. "Libre Comme Un Oiseau (Free As A Bird)" is another roller, this time with more free flowing vocals that ring out above the chunky, organic drums and busted bass. Excellent stuff.
Review: New York label and party Mister Saturday always brings roughed up, raw and steamy house grooves. This new one is no exception to that unwritten rule and it comes from Russell El Butler who serves up four platters that matter. 'Blah Blah' is a brilliantly brainless house romp with vocal loops and distorted kicks making you march. 'Kruymska' is more tight and taught thanks to the pinging kick drums and molten melodies up top, while 'Tout Va Bien' is a late night cut that glistens thanks to its prickly bass and razor sharp hats. 'Alone At Pisecka 12' closes out in malfunctioning fashion to round out a wide-ranging EP.
You're Leaving But I'll Still Love You (Saine remix) (6:05)
Review: Honey Butter is back with another slab of was as sweet and seductive as the name suggests. Cassettes For Kids takes care of this one with more than one eye on a golden period of mid nineties house and tech. The grooves on the opener are quick but deep, the train-track percussion locking you in while lush, heart melting chords are draped over the top. 'Growing Frustration' is a more peak time cut that never lets up and the first mix of 'You're Leaving But I'll Still Love You' is built on big break beats and a fat, tumbling bassline. Saine remixes with a more playful mood to send you home with a big old smile on your face.
Review: Bobby Cazanova does a fine job of putting together an expressive and expansive trip on his new EP for young but already impressive label Hen & Goose. 'A Romance Of Many Dimensions' brings fantastic synth sounds and more than a sprinkling of cosmic dust to a crisp and transportational beat. For deeper thrills, check the introverted loops of 'Recognition By Sight'. 'Irregular Figures' is like being trapped in a half mirrors, with melody firing around you in all direction. Some of them eventually break free on 'Vision Of Lineland' which is a sick, punchy house track that has spaced aged vibes to spare.
Review: Over the last few years, we've heard plenty of reworks of obscure, Cold War-era cuts from Eastern Europe, though few from the then Soviet Union. The shadowy CCCP Edits series, which here makes its bow, promises to set the record straight. There's plenty to set the pulse racing, from the bubbly acid bass, bustling funk breaks and hip-house breaks of "Malodym" and "Ya Zdes" (the latter with added deep house drowsiness and Balearic intent), to the spoken male vocals, high-tempo electro beats and lo-fi guitars of "Knopochki". Best of all though is closing cut "Astrid", which isn't really Russian at all, but rather an extra-percussive, bass heavy samba-house rework of an old Astrud Gilberto track. We'll forgive them though as it's really rather good.
Review: Strictly Rhythm is one of the most celebrated labels in house music and after all this years it still knows how to pick out the gems. This one first landed in 1992 but is a choice reissue that sounds as fresh as ever. Daniel Tenaglia is of course the man behind Code 718, which is one of his rare productions, but also one that begs the question - why didn't he do more? It's a deep house track with icy hi hats dancing over rooted kick drums with some plaintive synths up top. Simple, effective, well executed. Two different dubs offer slight alternatives, but you can't go wrong with the main mix.
Review: Flumo and ANMA Records link forces for this one, a collaborative project between UK-based Contours and Yadava. The music comes from various jam sessions and melds live percussion and floating keys with lush synth arpeggios. Add in drum machine, synthesizers and field recordings and you have a live and dynamic record. The whole thing flows smoothly and takes in beat driven jams that go deep with more scoring, emotionally charged tracks. Elements of the rich UK jazz scene, house, funk and more besides make this a fantastic exercise in musical warmth and soul.
Review: Portugal's Conversion is the latest new imprint to chuck its hat into the ever growing electro pool. The label is run by an artist of the same name who is also known as Jorge Caiado, who runs the Carpet & Snares label and shop, as well as doing A&R for Chez Damier's cult Inner Balance Music. It's been two years since he serve up the first release but the wait was well worth it - these are five more tracks of serene and cinematic electro. There is sparse, ambient laced dreaming material, more driving and punchy dance floor tackle and futuristic soul searching of the highest order.
Review: The Crue label comes through with two huge remixers on this lovely marled 10". On the A-side is none other than Wild Oats label boss and Detroit innovator Kyle Hall. He kicks off with a frazzled analogue synth and crisp, raw drum grooves before layering in more dreamy and warm hearted pads. Distant vocals add the detail which allow this one to roll and roll and keep you locked. Running Back boss Gerd Janson then steps up with another punchy deep house cut, this time driven by a bulbous bassline and huge, oversized claps. It's an immediately classic cut.
Review: Stay Current stalwart D Briggs pitches up on DJ Monchan's Dailysession Records for the very first time, bringing with him a melodious and positive trademark sound that should appeal to both nu-disco DJs and confirmed house heads. 'Dreamin', which he's presented in instrumental and vocal mix forms, is fundamentally a summery deep house record, but many of its cheery musical elements (bubbly synth sounds, happy-go-lucky melodies and a D-Train style bassline) are more often heard in retro-futurist boogie and proto-house inspired nu-disco records. Those who want a hazier deep house interpretation should check Cedar Sound Workshop's wonderfully warm flipside remix, while label boss Monchan's take is a spacey, two-step electro delight.
Review: Thus far in her career, Oona Dahl has made a habit of delivering melody-driven, often intoxicating tracks that seem to draw as much inspiration from 90s trance and progressive house as they do contemporary deep house and techno. Her first single for Watergate, 'Godtripper', ploughs a similar sonic furrow. Her original mix (A1) bubbles away impressively, with psychedelic, acid-style flourishes and grandiose, rising-and-falling melodies riding unfussy drums and an impressively undulating bassline. Patrice Baumel's accompanying remix is, if anything, even more rushing and trance-inducing, with the Dutch producer making great use of an epic, suitably spine-tingling breakdown. Over on the B-side you'll find the equally impressive 'Manic Space', a hypnotic, spaced-out tech-house excursion full of psychedelic acid lines, booming sub bass and crispy drums.
Review: Detroit's Jay Daniel can no longer be referred to as a protegee. The Watusi High boss is very much a talent unto his own after forming a small but superb discography in the last few years. His latest outing is another exquisite mixture of his very real drum playing skills and an ability to coax real feeling out of his lush synths. After the ambiance of 'Muse,' 'Solo' sinks into a late night vibe with glowing pads and wooden hits making for a perfectly reflective mood. 'Dew' cuts more loose into ticketing drum work that is raw and off-grid, but again soften but those gaze-inducing pads, and 'Cherry' closes out with crunchy, dance floor ready grooves.
Review: Is there a more positive, soulful and life-affirming dancefloor anthem out there than Roy Davis Jr and Peven Everett's 1996 jam "Gabriel"? As many will be aware, it has long been sought of as a classic, with soulful house, deep house, US and UK garage DJs all championing it back in the day. This white vinyl reissue boasts all of the mixes featured on the original 12". Perhaps the most famous version is the rolling, bass-heavy two-step flex of the "Live Garage" mix that opens side B, but there's plenty to set the pulse racing elsewhere. The driving, jazzy-but-stomping "Words To Give By" version has been annoyingly overlooked over the years, while the "Tambourine Dub" is deliciously sweaty and driving in the best possible way.
Review: Dutch producer Dazion has cooked up a real doozy here. It's a woozy and cerebral mix of sounds that are as psychoactive as nay drug and as compelling as any hit TV show. The artist born Cris Kuhlen fuses percussive mind benders with snake chambering synths and rugged rhythms. Vocoders repeat chanting mantras, squelchy electro bass props things up from below, loose and off kilter hits and toms pepper these more bone loosening grooves and the whole thing sounds like a weird seance deep in a distant sand dune, despite all being made in The Hague.
Review: Feel My Bicep has long been a home for big hearted, high impact, festival sized house and techno tunes. Next to serve up the weaponry are the collaborative pair of Defekt and Extrawelt, who kick off with "Field Day". It is a rugged, high speed electro tune with frazzled synths and gritty bass that powers into the cosmos. "Off Planet" is another journey through space, this time on more far sighted chords that have a mournful feel while the well programmed drums keep things pumping. These are likely to get big reactions but do so with a nice sense of style.
Review: Demuir has plenty of accolades and achievements under his belt, from regular collaborations with DJ Sneak and Cassy to releases on Music For Freaks, Hot Creations, Robsoul and more. Now the Toronto-based artist is on Darius Syrossian's Moxy Muzik with a seriously rubbery slice of peak-time house music to get bodies jacking in the loosest possible way. "Soul Muzak" hinges around a wonky, modulating synth line that will do untold damage in any up-for-it party setting. Demuir's old sparring partner DJ Sneak steps up on the B-side to deliver the "Banger Dub Remix" of the track, honing things down to a tracky bounce in his instantly identifiable house gangster style.
Review: Take It Easy are a Milan-based crew who love nothing better than the sweet fusion between classic disco sounds and upfront house music energy. Dirty Channels capture that spirit perfectly on this third release on the label, opening up this split 12" with the crisp and strutting "Guava Juice". DJLMP takes things in a more psychedelic, tripped out direction for the more adventurous groove hounds before longstanding champion Memoryman Aka Uovo gets dusty and woozy with "I Wonder". Bugsy completes the set with the feisty stomp and sizzling tension of "Pomiri Dan".
Review: 2020 marks two decades since Cyril Etienne des Rosaies released his first record as DJ Deep. In that time, he's barely put a foot wrong, developing a deliciously warm, spacey and tactile brand of deep house that always hits the spot. His latest single - his fourth on the Deep Moments imprint he established two years ago - is typically luscious. In its original form, "Happy People" is emotive and accessible, with waves of echoing sci-fi synth sounds and glassy-eyed electronic motifs rising and falling above a hypnotic late-night groove. He offers up a chunkier and even more spaced out "Dub Mix" that's every bit as alluring, before rising star Janeret adds a little purist tech-house swing while wrapping a squeezable synth bassline in impeccable, sunrise-ready chords.